This was the first South African team ever to make a tour abroad. Although they won 12 out of 24 matches they failed to attract the English public and only received £500 in gate money for the whole season. Their three best players were wicket keeper EA Halliwell, batsman COH Sewell, who later played for Gloucestershire, and slow bowler G Rowe. CL Johnson, the ex Dublin University and Ireland player, had gone to South Africa the previous year for health reasons. He had now returned as a member of this touring team. In 1896 Johnson played in a Test Match for South Africa against England at Johannesburg - Sir TCO'Brien being a member of the England side in the same match. A surprise absentee from the Irish team was W.Harrington who had taken 6 wickets in the I Zingari game.
Browning won the toss and batted. It might have been wiser to field because the wicket was treacherous and the ball turned and got up a bit. But for a timely 68 by W.D.Hamilton Ireland would have been out for less than 100. As it was they reached a disappointing 153. Smith, L.H.Gwynn and B.Hamilton were all out to Rowe and Glover before the 40 was up. AP Gwynn joined Comyn who had been batting well since the start. Gwynn hit out pluckily but at 58 Comyn was beautifully stumped by Halliwell off a fast one from Middleton. He had made 32. Browning was caught at the second attempt at point by Castens off Rowe. AP Gwynn was bowled for 20 trying to pull Middleton. At 98 Lambert was caught in the slips off Rowe. The eighth wicket stand saved the innings. Kilkelly joined WD Hamilton and they out on 52 together. The scoring had been quick even though 7 wickets were down for 98. 100 came up in only 50 minutes but the next 50 took only 20 minutes. Kilkelly, unusually for him, batted with great care while Hamilton hit at everything. Eventually Johnson came on to bowl and at once clean bowled Hamilton for 68. He had made these runs out of 80 in only 40 minutes. He hit 2 sixes and 10 fours and he gave no chance. Johnson bowled Ross first ball and with the 3rd ball of his second over he finished the innings by bowling Wallis. So in 8 balls Johnson had clean bowled three men without a run being scored off him. Kilkelly's 10 not out was a very valuable innings. The South African fielding had been excellent. The South Africans began badly, Routledge being caught at point by WD Hamilton off the first ball T.C.Ross ever bowled for Ireland.
Ross, however, did not bowl well and was replaced by Wallis at 30. At 31 B.Hamilton bowled the cramp-styled Mills for 5 - the ball coming off his pads. Halliwell then joined Sewell in a stand. 50 was up in 30 minutes and at lunch the score was 59 for 2. Ross had another spell after lunch but was hit hard. At 90 Lambert relieved Hamilton and in his first over bowled Halliwell for 39, the ball coming back 2 feet from off. The former Kent professional Frank Hearne was next. Ross missed him at mid-on off Lambert but in the latter's next over he bowled the newcomer for 1. CL Johnson came in to a great ovation. 100 came up in an hour with Sewell playing beautifully. The score moved to 129. Then Wallis missed Sewell on an easy caught and bowled but in the same over had this batsman stumped off Browning's pads for 73. Sewell was only 19 years of age but this innings, despite three difficult chances, was one of the best seen on an Irish ground. He batted with beautiful timing and hit 14 fours, mostly to leg. Cripps came next.
Bud Hamilton hit Johnson's stumps hard without dislodging a bail. After a slow start Johnson warmed up and treated the bowling severly. Cripps was bowled by Wallis for 14 and Castens lbw to Ross for 9. 200 came up at 4.40 with Johnson doing most of the scoring. Browning erred in taking Lambert off because when he came back he quickly took the 3 remaining wickets. Johnson, 9th out, fell to a fine running catch in the outfield by AP Gwynn. He had made 79 in 90 minutes with no real fault. He hit 2 sixes and 9 fours. The innings closed at 250, 97 ahead. Lambert with 5 for 37 in 16.4 overs was the best bowler. Ireland made a good start in their second innings and were 47 for 1 at close of play. Smith was out for 0 - bowled by Johnson (who at this stage had 4 for 0 in the match) but Comyn (21) and Kilkelly (26) saw the day out.
Second Day. Ireland totalled 181 in their second innings and were beaten by 9 wickets. It was an unexpected and disappointing result. Rain caused a break of 3 hours from 1.00 to 4.00 and again from 4.20 to 5.15. However the South Africans required only 50 minutes to hit off the 87 runs for victory. There was a reasonable crowd when Comyn and Kilkelly resumed. Rowe and Glover bowled and the former bowled Comyn after he had scored 23. Kilkelly and L.H.Gwynn took the score to 66 when the former was caught at the wicket off Rowe for 24. AP Gwynn joined his brother but LH was also caught at the wicket off Rowe. He had made 11. 89 for 4 and Rowe was bowling very well. With Browning in 100 came up at 12.15 but at 113 Rowe bowled Browning for 14. Middleton replaced Glover and at once bowled B.Hamilton for 0. A slight shower stopped play for a while. On resuming AP Gwynn and WD Hamilton carried the score to 144 with Gwynn doing all the scoring. At 144 Hamilton played across a straight one from Middleton and was bowled. Rain then stopped play. Gwynn and Lambert brought the score to 156 when Gwynn was bowled by a short ball that kept low - his penchant for hitting across the line of flight being his undoing. Gwynn's 62 contained 9 fours and came at a time when runs were badly needed. Ross hit Rowe for a 6 but the slow left hander quickly finished off the innings for 181. He had bowled 28.2 overs unchanged to take 7 for 77. His varied pace puzzled the batsmen.
After another delay for rain Cripps and Routledge opened for the South Africans at 5.15 to the bowling of B.Hamilton and Ross. At 18 Hamilton bowled Routledge with a "trimmer". Sewell came in and began to score very fast and in 45 minutes 69 more runs were scored to give the visitors victory. Sewell hit Hamilton for 18 in an over (one 6 and 3 fours) and in all scored 53 not out in 45 minutes. At 6.05 he won the match with a 6 and a 4. He was missed at 42 by LH Gwynn.